German DFB officials indicted over suspect 2006 World Cup payment

Swiss federal prosecutors have pushed for fraud charges to be issued against three former senior German football officials following a suspect payment linked to the 2006 World Cup hosted by Germany. 

The indictment in question has suggested that the senior officials – former German Football Association (DFB) presidents Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach, senior DFB official Horst Schmidt and former Swiss FIFA official Urs Linsi – had reportedly misled the DFB over a €6.7m payment. 

“The investigations have revealed that in summer 2002 Franz Beckenbauer accepted a loan of 10 million Swiss francs in his own name and for his own account from Robert Louis-Dreyfus. This sum was used to fund various payments made via a Swiss law firm to a Qatari company belonging to Mohammed Bin Hammam,” the Attorney General’s Office (OAG) said.

While the officials have denied any wrongdoing, Schmidt, Zwanziger and Linsi are currently undergoing investigation for fraud. The OAG has since stated that it had dropped last month its investigation of money-laundering allegations in the case.

“The exact purpose of the total payments of 10 million Swiss francs to Mohammed Bin Hammam could not be determined – also because a corresponding request for mutual legal assistance made by the OAG to the Qatari authorities in September 2016 remained unanswered until today,” the statement added.

A number of investigations have been carried out into the payment, which subsequently led to the resignation of Niersbach over allegations made suggesting that the payment was a means of purchasing votes in favour of Germany’s bid to host the 2006 tournament.

Zwanziger was in charge of the DFB from 2006 to 2012 and was succeeded by Niersbach until his resignation in the fallout from the scandal in 2015.